Behavior Issues in the Multi-cat Household Blog Part 2: Multiple and separate resources

 

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In the previous blog we reviewed different types of challenging behaviors common to homes with more than one cat. If you can relate, then I have good news! Very often, it just takes a little environmental tweaking on your part to reduce the tension between your cats. The big key to managing territory issues is to make sure that there are enough resources and space for all of your cats as well as any other pets that you may have. Providing cats with options not only decreases territorial disputes but also creates a less stressful environment. Let’s take a look at some simple ideas that you can implement in your own home.

  • Provide multiple feeding locations throughout the cat’s living space to ensure that no kitties are ‘nosed out’ of their meals. This is especially helpful when one cat is intimidating and bullies another to be the first one or the only one to have access to the food bowl. This also allows companion cats the ability to decide whether they want to share a close space during meals.  Remember, cat prefer to avoid conflict.  When we force them to share the same location to eat, we eliminate their ability to avoid each other.  The NoBowl Feeding System was designed with this in mind to decreasing conflict in the multicat household.
  • Set up more than one litter box and in separate locations in your home. The target number of boxes is one more box than the number of cats in the house, in different locations throughout the home.  Forcing cats that don’t get along to share a litter box location can lead to one cat deciding it’s safer to eliminate someplace else or hold it until the last possible second. Ensure that boxes are placed where each cat feels most comfortable.  (This is a big topic!!!  I will be writing more on this in future blogs.)
  • Provide more than one scratching post to avoid confrontation and help relieve kitty tension. Multiple options in terms of texture, orientation (horizontal vs vertical) and type may help satisfy individual preferences.
  • Increase your cats’ territory by increasing the vertical space in your home. Cat trees, cat shelves or window perches are easy and effective options. Multi-perched cat trees allow cats to share space together while maintaining some degree of hierarchy. They can also limit the visual contact your cats have with each other, thus helping to maintain peace!
  • To alleviate feline time-sharing issues, provide multiple cozy napping options such as an A-frame bed or a heated donut-shaped cat bed on shelves or tucked away (depending on your cats’ preferences) or even a padded window perch in a sunny window.
  • Schedule individual interactive playtime with each cat every day so they don’t have to compete for a toy or your attention.

Stay tuned for our next blog which will guide you on what to do if your cats do fight. To receive an email when this blog is posted, sign up at the orange button below.

 

Sources:

  1. http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/multicat-households-keeping-the-peace/
  2. http://www.catbehaviorassociates.com/how-cats-time-share/
  3. http://www.humanesociety.org/animals/cats/tips/aggression_between_cats.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
  4. http://huntsvilleanimalhospital.com/news/multi-cat-household-introductions-and-problem-solving-for-aggression-between-housemates/


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